Saturday, December 21, 2013

Cover Re-Vamp ~ Last Call by Michele G Miller


Happy Saturday my friends!! With the help of my amazing cover designer and photographer extraordinaire - Kelsey from K Keeton Designs - we have re-vamped the cover for Last Call!
I'm soooo happy with it. This new design is sleek and sexy and wait until you see what we will have for follow up book in the series.  #Yummmmmy!





Last Call is currently on sale for only $0.99 through Christmas on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

If you haven't read it yet, Last Call is a New Adult, Romantic Suspense that tells the story of Savannah as she stumbles her way through blind dates, a sexy bartender, and a broken heart from her past. 
All while dealing with her first love marrying her cousin and something sinister that threatens not only her happily ever after, but her life. 


*First Chapter Excerpt*


Friday - April 12, 2013
The Invitation

It all started with a 6x9-inch cream envelope and some swirling calligraphy.
I stepped into the small house I shared with my two roommates to find the offending envelope propped up against a glass vase on our dining table. Next to the envelope was a bright yellow sticky note with my roommate Sara’s chicken scratch:
Wine is chilling and dinner is on us <3
Indication #1 that this envelope was bad news.
Indication #2? The three missed calls and voicemails from my mother sitting on my phone. She never called me during my school hours, and yet today she had tried, and failed, to reach me three times. When she didn’t catch me by voice, she finally sent a quick text:

Mom: Darling, call me on your way home. Everything is fine here. I have wonderful news from Mary Anne to share.

My mother never texted me. Typically, she considered texting beneath her. This text was a warning sign.
Indication #3 was the name Mary Anne.
Then finally, as I walked towards the envelope that was so beautifully addressed to Ms. Savannah R. Guthry and flipped it over, I found indication #4. The proudly displayed return address along the back of the sealed envelope. It was a dead giveaway as to whom this event was for. As if I hadn’t connected the dots already.
First things first. I dropped the envelope back on the table, walked slowly down the long hall into my room, and stripped out of my clothes. My mood instantly improved as I slipped on my favorite comfy outfit and piled my dark hair into a messy bun on top of my head. Phone charger in tow, I walked back to the front of the house where I plugged in my phone, grabbed a glass of the aforementioned wine, and plopped myself into a chair with the offending envelope.
For a good twenty minutes I just sat there chewing on my lip and sipping the white wine. Curling my legs under me, I finally decided to open it.
The heavy paper was sealed with a gold wax “G” stamped into it and I chuckled to myself. The Guthry family certainly spared no expense when it came to a wedding of one of their own. Without looking in the envelope, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it contained a wedding invitation. Slowly I pulled the card out, indulging in one long sip of my wine before reading the words.

Mr. and Mrs. Grantham E. Guthry
Request the honor of your presence
At the marriage of their daughter
Mary Anne Guthry
To
Mr. Daniel Edward Livingston, III

On Saturday the Fifteenth of June
Two Thousand and Thirteen

Country Club of Charleston
Charleston, SC

Daniel Edward Livingston, III: the boy with the crystal blue eyes and windblown blond hair. My heart clenched at the painful memory. Then, almost as quickly, I felt nothing as I thought of the man he had become. My gorgeous, Southern, spoiled cousin was marrying my first love. No big deal. I knew it would happen eventually. I could be happy for them, couldn’t I? After all, it was four years ago. Four years since Daniel sat me down to tell me he wanted to “explore his options.” Little did I know his option was my cousin Mary Anne.
The vibrations of my phone pulled me back to the present. The display glowed: Mom. I debated the wisdom of letting her fourth call of the day go to voicemail, and decided it was best to get it over with. Avoiding Erika Guthry when she wanted to speak with you was pointless. She could be relentless, and it was best to deal with her like ripping off a bandage…grit your teeth and get it over with quickly.
“Hello, Mother.”
“Savannah Rose Guthry, I have been trying and trying to contact you today! I almost had Daddy contact the authorities. You’ve given me quite the scare, darling.”
Add hysterics and exaggeration to the list of qualities my mother possessed.
“Momma, I’m fine. You know I have classes all day. I just walked in the door a few minutes ago.”
“Well you should have called me back,” she drawled, the irritation clear in her heavily accented voice. She’d been inconvenienced. “Sweetheart, I called to tell you about Mary Anne and Daniel. Have you heard yet?”
“I’m staring at the announcement as we speak.”
“Oh darling, I’m sorry. I so hoped I would be able to warn you. Are you alright?” she asked; her voice heavy with misplaced sorrow. The speed at which her emotions changed could give you whiplash.
“Mother, it’s been four years. I’m fine.”
“Losing someone like Daniel Livingston does not simply go away, Savannah. I can’t believe we let him slip through your fingers and right into Mary Anne’s. Why, I bet Charlene is prancing like a peacock at the match.”
“I’m sure she is, Momma. Look, I need to run…”
“Honey, you know Mary Anne barely graduated, don’t you? Daniel would have done so much better with you. But here we are; they’re getting married in June and you’re in Tennessee still in school.” Her voice rose an octave or two as she mournfully complained.
“I’ve really got to run, Mother,” I interjected before she could whine some more.
“What? Oh darling, your father is calling. We’re supposed to have dinner with the Alexanders this evening. Oh…” she gasped. “The most amazing idea just popped into my head! Spencer played golf with your daddy and Neal today…”
“Oh Momma, don’t go there. Leave poor Spencer Alexander alone,” I begged. You could practically hear the matchmaking wheels spinning from two states away.
“Sweetheart, Spencer was a doll all those years ago escorting you to your coming out party after Daniel broke your heart. Don’t you worry about a thing, Savannah. I’ll handle everything. I’ll call you in a few days to discuss the details of the pre-wedding events. Love you.”
“Alright, love you…” I heard a click and she was gone.
With a heavy sigh, I lifted my wine glass to my lips and was surprised to find it empty. According to the clock on the wall, Sara and Candace should be back with dinner any minute. Another glass could wait for them to return. As I carefully took the wedding invitation from my lap and slipped it back into the envelope, I allowed my mind to wander back to Spencer Alexander. The history there was way more complicated than my mother knew, and he didn’t deserve her snooping into his personal life when all he did was play golf with my father.
Mind made up, I quickly rang my father’s cell phone, hoping to catch him before he picked my mother up for dinner.
“Bradford Guthry,” his brusque business voice answered.
“Hi, Daddy.” Yes, I was a daddy’s girl.
“Hi, baby. Sorry, I didn’t see it was you. Everything alright?”
“I’m great, Daddy. I talked to Momma a moment ago about Mary Anne’s wedding.”
“Oh? I’m sorry baby, I should have warned you about that.”
Funny thing was, I knew immediately that my father was talking about warning me about my mother calling. Whereas my mother thought I needed warning of the event, as if I was going to have an emotional meltdown. My father knew it was my mother’s overreacting, melodramatic phone calls that would put me over the edge.
“It’s alright, I survived. However, Spencer Alexander may not.”
“Spence? What does he have to do with anything?”
“What, indeed,” I laughed; filling him in on Mother’s ‘amazing idea’.
“Leave your mother to me, honey. Will you be home before the wedding, or are you set on staying in Nashville for the summer?”
“You know I’m staying here, Daddy.”
“Alright, sweetie. I promised not to complain. Don’t worry about your mother. I’ll keep her off your case. You have finals in the next few weeks, don’t you?”
“Yep.”
“Okay then, study hard and let us know how you do. Let me run before your mother yells at me for being late again.”
“Have fun. Love you.” I laughed as I hung up the phone, my mood significantly improved merely by speaking with him.
My mother and father were polar opposites when it came to me. Although I knew they both wanted what was best for me, it was my father who listened to me about my wants. My mother, on the other hand, assumed she knew what I wanted and never had a problem making decisions for me.
Muted laughter outside the front door alerted me to my roommates’ arrival. Hearing the fumbling and rattling of a key in the lock, I got up to help them in.
Sara let out a curse as I pulled the door open and she stumbled in. “We’ve got to get a locksmith to look at this. It sticks.”
“Surprise,” sang Candace, nudging Sara in and holding up two carry out bags from my favorite local Italian restaurant.
“And ice cream,” Sara chimed in, pulling out a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. “Want dessert first?”

I so did, more than either of them knew.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

*Giveaway* Under Different Stars by Amy Bartol ~ Blog Tour






Under Different Stars (Kricket #1)
Amy A. Bartol
YA Dystopian


Book Blurb:
All she wants is a home, but can she find one...UNDER DIFFERENT STARS

Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket's gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

Excerpt:
Water swirls around me as I open my eyes. I shiver, realizing I’m in Trey’s arms. He’s standing chest deep in crystal blue water with Wayra pacing on the bank only steps away. Clutching Trey closer to me, my cheek remains on his shoulder. Watching a bead of water slip down his powerful neck, I hear Jax say, “She’s waking up.”
Trey, cupping his hand in the water, pours some of it over my hair. It drips down the sides of my face, cooling me. “Let’s get her out. I’ll get the visor and we can check her vitals.”
As Trey wades out of the pond with me in his arms, I try to lift my head from his shoulder. It makes me dizzy so I lay it back. It’s then I notice that I’m only in my bra and underwear. A blush creeps into my cheeks as I hug Trey tighter to me. Wayra meets us on the bank, draping a blanket over us. Trey sits down with me on his lap. He leans against a tree trunk holding me securely to his chest. Peeking at his face, he seems angry as he smoothes my hair back from my face.
Hurrying over with the visor that looks like grandma goggles, Trey sets them on my eyes. Everything is green as I gaze around at the water in front of us. Flashing green lights and readouts occupy the peripherals of the glasses, but the information is running faster than I can possibly read it.
“Ho!” Jax exclaims next to me.
Immediately, Trey’s arms tighten on me as he barks out, “What? How bad is it?”
“Naw, it’s not bad…it’s just…Kricket…” Jax breathes, like he’s in awe. “Look at this brain activity…it’s massive.”
“What do you mean?” Trey asks with relief in his tone.
Jax grins. “She’s lighting everything up. Look at her frontal lobe…it’s off the charts.”
“What does that mean? Is she healthy?” Trey growls.
Jax nods enthusiastically. “She’s healthy! We didn’t fry her with heat stroke, that’s for sure. Or, if we did, she’s got more brain activity than anyone I’ve ever seen to compensate for it,” he replies, sounding seriously geeked about it.
“Those things aren’t broken, are they?” Trey asks speculatively.
“No…here.” Jax pulls them off my face. “Wayra, come here.”
Wayra walks over and Jax puts the glasses on his eyes. “See! He’s normal, well, normal for him. See how it doesn’t light up in these areas?” he points out to Trey.
“Yes.”
“Now watch this,” he says, taking the glasses off of Wayra, he places them back on my face. “See? It’s like Christmas in Chicago with all those lights,” Jax says proudly.
“So that means she’s smart?”
Jax beams. “Yeah, she’s smart! She’s brilliant! There’s no telling what she can do.”
“If she’s so smart, why did she run until she almost popped? Why didn’t she just tell us she needed to rest?” Wayra asks derisively.
“Personality flaw,” Trey replies. “She’s going to show us that she’s not weak.”
“She’s sitting right here,” I murmur, pulling the glasses off my face and handing them to Jax.

Review:

When I sit down to read a book I want to be pulled from my everyday life and into the characters world where I can live and breath their pains, joys, and horrors with them. I love being transported and Under Different Stars did exactly that.

The setting/plot:

Peppered with sci-fi, lots of action, romance, humor, and a dystopian government this book really has it all!
- Under Different Stars takes place on both Earth and an alternate planet called Ethar which lends to the sci-fi feeling. However, if you're leery of reading sci-fi you should know that Amy writes it in such a way that ANY reader can enjoy and understand. Her colorful descriptions of the people and places, especially on Ethar, help you picture this world without the overwhelming need for a science degree. Amy has this effortless way of writing where you feel like you are there with her characters. Her world building is so easy to digest no matter how complicated the setting might seem.
- As the blurb eludes, Kricket is valuable and the means that many will go to have her on their side is extreme. This political intrigue (the dystopian element) at play in the story is really interesting too. This is what runs the story line and brings in a lot of action sequences. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the military scenes.
- Not your typical love a first site romance, Under Different Stars still sizzles with romantic tension. I was about 20% in when I told a blogger I was pretty sure we were going to have a new book boyfriend at the end of this book. I was right. Let's just say there are a few water scenes I would have happily replaced Kricket in ;)

The characters:

This is my favorite part of Under Different Stars. The characters.
- The camaraderie between soldiers Trey, Jax and Wayra is done perfectly. You like these guys and can see their friendship as soldiers and men. They bring a lot of humor to the story.
- Kricket is a tough fighter with just enough vulnerability to make her real. Watching her trust and friendships grow with Trey, Jax and Wayra is a fun ride. She is at once a thorn in their side and a valuable ally.
- Trey and Kyon are two men on a mission with two very different purposes but one ultimate goal - bring Kricket home. This is another Amy Bartol specialty, you will find yourself loving and hating the 'bad' guy! You will also probably find  yourself with a new addition to your book boyfriend collection.

I highly recommend Under Different Stars to you guys. I think you will find it to be a great read that is different from anything else out there. As always Amy leaves me begging for more and I'm so honored I get to share the Indie book world with someone as talented as she is.



BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY (OPEN INTERNATIONALLY):

1st place: KINDLE FIRE + ebook of Under Different Stars
2nd place: Kindle Cover + $50 Amazon Gift Card
3rd place: $50 Amazon Gift Card

GIVEAWAY CONDITIONS:

- Giveaway administered by Amy A. Bartol
- Winners will be notified via email and if winner does not respond within 5 days another winner will be selected
- Amazon ships most Kindle e-readers worldwide, however, it is up to the participant to ensure the country they reside in is listed as one of the countries Amazon ships to. If a winner is selected and Amazon does not ship to their country, another winner will be selected.
- Before entering this giveaway please check: To ship Kindle Fire outside the U.S. view important information specific to your country.


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About Amy


Website/blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Amazon | Pinterest


I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re  real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed.



Monday, December 2, 2013

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